What do I talk about when I talk about balance?

One of my starting posts on this blog site was about Balance.

As I write this blog, I want to reflect on balance once more. What do I talk about when I talk about balance? Rather, imagining balance once more.

To summarise my previous blog, if you don’t feel like clicking on the link above or here, I wrote about emotions felt as a result of imbalance. I then, presented 2 ways of dealing with this imbalance to find balance. 1) Solution oriented approach 2) Getting at the root causes approach. I then added a bit of wisdom from one of my favourite characters uncle Iroh. Wish he was my real uncle lol πŸ˜†

Here’s another one of my favourites

I could just post all the Uncle Iroh’s pins and end this blog. But let me reflect on balance πŸ€”

Hope and strength is what you give yourself in dark times. That is the true meaning of strength. This is another one of Uncle Iroh’s quotes. I wanted to expand on hope.

What is hope? If I take no action towards my goals, can I hope to reach them?

If I refuse to change my habits or set ways, can I still hope for a better future?

True hope is having done the work, put in the effort and then hoping for the best. But the temporal nature of this life is such that, amidst this true hope, we can fall victim to other vices that can create imbalance within us.

An example, I write this blog for my self-development, reflections and sharing it so that, others who can relate to my thoughts can perhaps find benefit from it. But then, I start getting big headed and start thinking that I am wise and start boasting about my work and knowledge. This results in arrogance and the kind of arrogance whose roots can grab hold of the thinking, ‘that I am better than others’.

I prefer relating examples to myself because I don’t want to mention anybody else. It’s simple to use myself as an example, it’s also an antidote to keep a check on myself. It’s also a way to keep humble and knowing whether any of these vices taint my mind and/or heart.

While not with this blog, I have surely tried to get ahead of myself in other endeavours. Not thinking of myself better than others, but rather over exaggerating my skills in my own mind. This is also arrogance. Arrogance that makes me forget gratitude. Arrogance that makes me break my rules. Arrogance that causes me to praise myself and think how good I am because of my recent streak, processes and actions. Failing to acknowledge the real cause of my skills and failure to remain humble. Forgetting that all the skills, wisdom, intelligence, good habits that I have gained at all points is attributed to God alone. What I am trying to say is that ‘True Hope’ is having hope in the ‘Divine Decree’, on the condition that I do my best, put in the effort and then hope to not fall into the traps of my ego and whims. Hope to fall in love with the repeatable process to make it my instinct. Hope to improve so I can systematise it. Or better yet, another one of uncle Iroh’s quotes would fit well here.

Get help from others in areas where you are weak. Doing this over and over, you can start to see some of your blind spots. You can start to see your learnt behaviours and patterns.

I am going to pivot away from all the talk and reflection and finish this by saying, what can help me the most is being comfortable with uncertainty. It is indeed difficult to be patient over something that you don’t have knowledge of, or control. And what helps to be comfortable is meditation. It works well so long as I am not neglecting others areas and aspects of life. It is difficult to move forward keeping everything in balance. Especially when balance is frail in the first place πŸ˜……. even then balance, contentment, equanimity can be achieved via staying and living in the present.

ps. I got the idea for the title from Haruki Murakami’s memoir ‘What I talk about when I talk about running.’

Progress and Action

My 2 good habits that I have managed to be consistent with, since the lockdown started are: Meditation andΒ  Exercise.

I started by doing 20 push-ups a day and meditating every morning. Since last summer, I had been very inconsistent with practising martial arts or doing exercise. Perhaps going to counselling and showing up for the sessions kept me weighed down. During the whole process, I was listening to audiobooks, podcasts and watching YT videos as an escape. Escape because, my time was mostly filled by listening to fictional novels from some of my favourite authors. With the start of 2020 and having finished with counselling sessions, I wanted to re-implement some of the good habits that have stuck with me throughout difficult times. The two being meditation and exercise! It’s always these two that help me find balance and reorganise my mind.

This Spring with lockdown in place I tried a new combination of meditation followed by exercise for 90 days… I skipped a few days here and there. Skipped either am or pm session. It didn’t go as I planned, however, I managed to develop these habits back into my daily routine with greater consistency. I was meant to update my daily log of accountability but I really found that a chore lol. Still I started by doing 20 push-ups right after a meditation session. Usually I like meditating after an intense workout and emptying my mind and just sitting with myself observing and enhancing the focus and emptiness… this time, I was meditating first and to reward myself (the brain) I was doing push-ups. The idea being that my brain needs dopamine and endorphins released to feel pleasure and for the habit to stick. I can say that it worked really well. I also went from doing 20 push-ups to 50 push-ups. Then changed it up to 100 push-ups a day (5 sets Γ— 20 reps).Β  Now, I have brought another slight change and started to lift weights too. The day I don’t lift weights, I do 100 push-ups. The other days I lift. I still maintain my focus on core strength and flexibility because I want to keep my taekwondo skills up to par.

Why am I sharing this? I can keep carrying on quietly and do what I am doing. My reasons for sharing are simple, everyone goes through different life challenges. You never know what others may find inspirational. I am not really going to post pictures up lol because I hardly take pictures. I don’t have a habit of taking selfies or pictures. So sadly, I don’t have the skinny me before and some after gains haha… The idea behind sharing this is that, you can start no matter your level, start with habits that you want to develop and stick with them, challenge yourself, hold yourself accountable through social media posts or through a friend. Become consistent, do a little bit everyday, rather than not doing anything at all.

Personally for me, consistency matters a lot. If I am able to stay consistent with my habits… hopefully it filters through to other aspects of life too and become consistent with everything I want to do and plan to do. Focussing on the process, not the outcome. The next steps for me are filling in the daily report card with consistency. To see what I am referring to check out these previous posts:

http://macropassions.com/2020/04/05/how-to-motivate-yourself-to-sustain-your-productivity/

http://macropassions.com/2020/02/29/leap-progress-process/

I want this progress and action to filter into my process and auction too.

Until next time,

Put in those reps

How to motivate yourself to sustain your productivity!

I am sharing an old post I wrote back in 2015 when I was studying for exams. This is very relevant in current times.

Many of us have so much free time, many of us are bored, binge watching shows. I am not saying that I don’t watch shows at all. I am a big anime fan, psychological and thriller genres being my favourite. My favourite anime is Monster by Naoki Urasawa. An underrated anime definitely. What I mean is, often, if this habit is not kept in check, it turns into escapism. Like binge playing video games, binge watching TV shows, movies, binge listening to music. These are all forms of escapism and many of us fall into this trap without ever realising. Escapism, although it can be good at times to keep the mind busy and away from anxiety, stress, depression when you have no other solution. In no way ever, it will solve any of those problems. It will just halt them temporarily much like what other addictions do. Drugs, drinking and what not. Since this is a norm in today’s society and especially the youth. Here is what helped me when I was a student, although I still am, but not sitting any school, college or university exams.

How To Motivate Yourself To Study?

I may not be the best person to answer this query, but let’s just say most of us struggle similarly. Work, life in general, family, commitments, enjoyment and so much more that life has to offer gets in the way of studying. Am I right? (rolling eyes) hmmm i guess so…. On the contrary, sometimes it is simply laziness, poor time management and lack of discipline that gets in the way of studying. I think together the two hold true for the majority. Motivation, is a word so deep that you have to dig out from the depths of your inner self, your consciousness, your conviction, errrr…. thinking deeply, I would say Motivation needs a regular check up. Just like how you get a health check up, how you maintain your diet, how you keep up a work routine; motivation similarly needs to be renewed, pondered over and rejuvenated yet to keep it going strong.

I hope that helps, but let me tell you something, we are capable of a lot more than we can comprehend ourselves. The mind is limitless just like the universe. We are strong and it is said that no soul shall be burdened beyond what it can bear. Getting back to the subject of motivation and linking it with studies, it generally works if you treat studies and exams just like your job or part-time job. Spend 2-3 hours daily, if not then, regularly. Follow a routine, plan ahead, more importantly do some exercise to help relieve stress and keeping a healthy mind and body. Physical and mental fitness is essential, especially in today’s world. We all live a busy life, hard to squeeze new things in our daily routine, sometimes so busy that we don’t pay attention to our closest relations.

I personally being a bit lazy leave everything and do it at the eleventh hour. However, I do pass and score average marks. If I was to work harder, better put like this, if I was to manage my time more efficiently and study properly, I could score better in exams. My point is ‘Motivation’, that’s what I lack too and yet I am writing this article to help you, because sometimes it’s the human nature, people can advise other people better than they can themselves. Does that make sense? hmmm…I guess it does. So by advising you, ultimately I am noting all of this for myself too,and work to improve my motivation, and find the trigger to take it one level up every time. Hehe, I think that last line was overly ambitious.

“Find the trigger to keep it in Resonance.” Don’t let it fluctuate too much, just like the Miller Orr Model for cash management. Well, I hope this helps, I want to continue writing but I have to get back on my studies πŸ™‚ Good Luck with your exams πŸ™‚

Well, all exams have been cancelled. You might not be studying at all right now. Think of the consequences when you start again. We are creatures of habit. If you break your good and productive habits during these times, a lot of us will find it a chore to bring those back when we need them. To ensure, that you don’t lose the productive habits, what you ought to do perhaps, is do a little of them. E.g. if you can’t study 6-7 hours like you’d during school/college or exam times. Study 1 hour a day. If you can’t do 1 hour workout in gym, do a 15 minute workout at home. Once more, what I am really doing is, by advising you, I am noting all of this for myself too.

I will share some apps that help me, my 2 favourites are Thenics and Mindfulness. You just need a small space and follow the app for a solid workout. If you can sustain these workouts for 2-3 months, you just might be able to do handstand, pistol-squat and other cool calisthenics moves.

In the mindfulness app, my current favourite meditation practice is Corona resilience. Immunity booster. Although, I always have my own ways to apply and make them work for me. I will perhaps talk about other different meditation techniques I carry out in my next post.

Until then, stay fit and stay productive.